Why Heat’s Duncan Robinson taunted Celtics fans during Game 7 of Eastern Conference finals

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Sometimes 3-point specialists off the bench need to flex, too.

Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson became an instant meme after the team’s 103-84 Game 7 demolition of the Boston Celtics sent Miami to the NBA Finals. Robinson celebrated a play in the middle of the fourth quarter after he cut to the basket for a layup that gave the Heat a 21-point lead and all but ended any hopes of a Celtics comeback. As Boston called a timeout, Robinson jogged to the Miami bench with his right hand behind his ear to signal how quiet it had become inside TD Garden.

The gesture caught fans’ attention because Robinson, who was born in Maine and played high school basketball in New Hampshire, is normally mild-mannered and because he is a role player, though his impact in the Eastern Conference Finals was significant.

“I wanted to do it,” Robinson said during an appearance on “The Old Man & the Three” podcast that published Wednesday. “There’s a little bit of an internal conflict, right? Cause you’re playing on the floor that you grew up fortunate enough to be able to go to games on and grew up in Celtics country and all this stuff.

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“So you have the idea that you want to do it, but I have to be relevant enough in the game to warrant that, and I really toed the line on that because ideally you score like 20, 20-plus and then you’re doing it and you have a little more validity. For my 10th point on a back-cut layup, not really what I envisioned.”

Still, there was a little more backstory to the celebration.

Heat forward Duncan Robinson reacts after making a 3-pointer against Celtics guard Jaylen Brown during the fourth quarter of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals at TD Garden in Boston on May 29, 2023.

Heat forward Duncan Robinson reacts after making a 3-pointer against Celtics guard Jaylen Brown during the fourth quarter of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals at TD Garden in Boston on May 29, 2023.

Why did Duncan Robinson taunt the Celtics crowd in Game 7?

Robinson said he still has the same cell phone number as when he played at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., and that he suspects someone he knew back then shared his number in a large group chat. Once Miami lost Game 6, which saw the team’s 3-0 lead evaporate to a tied series, his phone started blowing up.

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“‘Get (expletive), Celtics in seven,’ sending me memes of the Curt Schilling bloody sock, just all these random numbers, like 70 texts,” Robinson said of some messages he received. “And I’m like, ‘What is going on?’ And I’m also pissed because I’m on the heels of this bone-crunching loss, not to mention I missed some shots down the stretch that I’d like to have back.

“So I’m like in my feels and I’m really worked up about it. I’m like, ‘Who the (expletive) gave out my number?'”

What happened after Duncan Robinson taunted the Celtics crowd?

Robinson continued, “So then I started thinking and I’m creating all these scenarios in my head, and if I get the chance and I go to the Garden, I’m going to do something. I didn’t know what it was going to be. Honestly, probably a little underwhelming, but you would be shocked at how many people that really bothered.”

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Robinson finished the game with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range.

“Some people loved it – it was very polarizing – and then obviously all the people that are bitter back home were like ‘Oh, this is so unnecessary,’ like, ‘classless,’ all this stuff, but whatever.”

Robinson averaged 18.7 minutes per game in the Eastern Conference finals and scored 11.4 points and shot 48.4% on 3-pointers in the series.

“It would’ve been nice if it was after my, like, seventh three, but I didn’t have the luxury of that being the case,” Robinson said. “So I was like, ‘You know what, there’s an opportunity, you just called a timeout, the place is absolutely silent, I’m going to jump on it.'”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Heat’s Duncan Robinson explains why he taunted Celtics fans in Game 7

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